OXFORD – The SAD 17 Board of Directors approved the 2003-04 budget of $29,832,556 Monday. The increase is $705,922, or 2.42 percent, more than last year. The local assessment of $13,122,864 reflects a 4.47 percent, or $560,955, increase.

Business Manager Cathy Fanjoy said the information will be put into the Annual Report and Proposed Budget newspaper and mailed to all residents in the eight towns of SAD 17. She expected they would be received by May 19.

The failure to fund $30,000 for a health program for eighth-graders was questioned by board member Dy-Anne Gurney from Norway.

She suggested that the board drop an after-school busing program and one third of the cost of the resource officer – his approximate time at the middle school – to reinstate the program. She said the resource officer, provided by the Paris Police Department, spends two-thirds of his time at the high school and that should not be changed.

Board member Joe Vaillancourt of Otisfield suggested that the health program be reviewed by the curriculum committee and administrators, and then a recommendation be brought back to the school board. He said the fund to pay for the health program could be taken out of the contingency fund so the bottom line of the budget would not be altered. Fanjoy said the contingency fund had $150,000 available. Gurney could not understand why the program had not been started since the board voted to begin it two years ago.

Curriculum committee member Kerry Halterman of Oxford said that to install that health program Oxford Hills Middle School Principal Hal Small would have to drop an existing program and rework an already tight middle school agenda. He said he also favored the health program being in line with Maine Learning Results.

The board approved Vaillancourt’s motion.

In other business, the board also heard a presentation from Oxford Hills Technical School Director Thomas Cope saying the net assessment for operations for the coming fiscal school year would be increasing $66,771 to a total of $2,259,590.

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